“What would happen if all the church people of all the Christian denominations in the United States woke up and said, ‘Oh. If I’m going to follow Jesus, I can’t have anything to do with war’ – therefore we all resign from the military, resign from Livermore Labs and the Pentagon, refuse to kill anybody, abolish the death penalty, campaign to abolish nuclear weapons, and give all that money for the poor? The government would have a problem.” Indeed it would. But that, in a nutshell, is what John Dear invites us to do. In the spirit of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., and yes, of Jesus, he reminds us of the true message of Christ – which has nothing to do with the notion of a “just war.” Father Dear sounds a clarion call to nonviolence without reservation and peace without exception. But it’s no mere vision to him. He sees a clear path toward making it a reality when each of us embodies nonviolence in our inner lives, in our interpersonal lives, and in acts of service to our communities, our nation, and the world. And while many of us have come to believe that a world without war is simply not realistic, Father Dear’s gentle words and compelling faith will have you wondering, “why not?” (hosted by Michael Toms)
John Dear, S.J. is a Jesuit priest, pastor, peace activist, organizer, lecturer, retreat leader, and the author or editor of twenty-five books. He holds two masters degrees in theology from the Graduate Theological Union in California, and in 2008 was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He has been a pastor; executive director of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, the largest interfaith peace organization in the United States; and is now coordinator of the New Mexico region of Pax Christi, the national Catholic peace movement. Father Dear has been arrested more than seventy-five times in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience for peace, and has worked with Mother Theresa and others to stop the death penalty.
His books include:
- A Persistent Peace: One Man’s Struggle for a Nonviolent World (Loyola Press 2008)
To learn more about the work of John Dear go to fatherjohndear.org.
Topics explored in this dialogue include:
- Why Christians don’t really follow the teachings of Christ
- What is Christian feminsim
- How churches have become instruments of war
- What is the one thing we know for sure about Jesus
- How you can develop a daily practice of mystical nonviolence
Host: Michael Toms Interview Date: 10/9/2008 Program Number: 3279